100 Pages, Indie Author E-Con, and Sale!

Hello, everyone! It’s been a while since I’ve actually written a post, but I have big news!

100 pages!!!

Yup, I just hit 28,670 words in the sequel to Twinepathy, which, if you haven’t found out, is titled Lightporter. I’m not far enough along to post a blurb or a snippet, unfortunately. But I have several other things to announce!

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First, I’m going to be participating in my first e-conference! From March 20th-24th, Kendra E. Ardnek will be hosting the Indie Author E-Con. There will be tons of awesome blog posts on a bunch of different blogs, and there’s also going to be contests that you can participate in! First, there’s a writing contest, where you can write a story to fit one of the covers. There will be prizes, and if you get Best-Of for the cover, you get that cover! Go check them out and see if any inspire you. There’s even one I made! 🙂

The second Indie Author E-Con event I wanted to tell you about is the fanart and cosplay showcase for Indie books. I’m very excited about this, as it’ll give some of us indie authors a chance to see how much our readers love our books. If you have an idea for fanart or cosplay for Twinepathy or any other indie books, get started on it now! Trust me, it’ll be fun. I might even be doing some for my favorite indie books, if I have time.

And finally, as celebration for hitting a hundred pages in Lightporter, and because of the Indie E-Con…

Twinepathy is going to be on sale until the end of March! If you haven’t picked up a copy of the book yet, this is your chance! Still not sure if you want to buy it? Read some reviews on Goodreads and Amazon. If you want super detailed reviews, I’d suggest Deborah O’Carroll’s review and Christine Smith’s. They both basically wrote their own book about my book, and they’re super entertaining, so go check them out!

I hope you pick up a copy of Twinepathy and join us for the Indie Author E-Con! Comment below with random ideas for Twinepathy fanfiction, fanart, and cosplays for the E-con. I’d love to see your IDIAs!

Hello Again And A Cyber Monday Sale!

Why, hello, friends! It’s been quite a while, hasn’t it? I blame college. But I have a surprise! In case you haven’t noticed, today is Cyber Monday! I decided that today would be a great day to put Twinepathy on sale for only $0.99! If you haven’t read it or if you want an e-book copy for yourself, go ahead and pick it up now! The sale will only last through tomorrow. This is my way to thank all of you for all of your help and support!

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If you’ve already read Twinepathy, you can still help out by posting a review on Amazon, Goodreads, or your own blog, and by sharing about the sale. Thank you all!

The ULTIMATE Twinepathy Q/A | The Characters Answer Your Questions!

Hello, everyone, my name is Anvil, and I’m “guiding” you through this post. Jen was supposed to do it, but she’s pretty busy at the moment, so she asked me to take over. C.B. says to tell you: Be forewarned that there may be SPOILERS in this post… most of them will be in white text, which you can highlight to read if you wish. Whatever that means. So let’s get on to the questions.

Albany

Sarahtps: What’s the best thing about being twins? The worst? Same with the mind connection thing? Being twins: Having someone who knows you really well and who’s with you all the time. That’s the best and the worst thing. Mind connection… there are a lot of good things, but I know the worst thing is having trouble keeping a secret, even if it’s just like a surprise party or something.

What’s your favorite board game? I’m not a big fan of board games. I prefer Solitaire. But if I had to pick one… Sorry, maybe?

Madeline: How did you find out about your telepathic abilities? It was a very traumatic moment when we were three. Not my favorite memory to recount…

Sarah: What is your favorite season? I like winter, mostly because it’s a great time to curl up with a book. And winter break.

Brooklyn

Sarahtps: What’s the best thing about being twins? The worst? Same with the mind connection thing? I love being able to know Albany really well, but sometimes she gets annoyed with me. Our mind connection is fun… it’s nice to be able to talk silently. The worst thing is when our nightmares spill over into each other’s heads. Not fun.

What’s your favorite board game? Monopoly! It provides lots of time for talking and hanging out, and I usually win.

Madeline: How did you find out about your telepathic abilities? It’s always been hard for me to remember, Albany says I blocked out the memory. But I know it was when we were about three, and it was really weird.

Sarah: What is your favorite season? Definitely spring! I love when everything is new and fresh, especially with happily chirping birds and bright flowers!

Jen/Data

Deborah: What is your favorite color? Probably a silvery gray. Pretty but kind of practical.

What is your opinion on penguins? The only penguin I actually like is Finch as a penguin.

If you could have a different superpower, what would it be? Something more useful in a fight, like energy manipulation. I’m particularly fond of metal manipulation. It has quite a few practical applications.

Sarahtps: If you could go back in time and give your younger self one piece of advice, what would you tell her? There are a few places in time I’d like to go just to watch again… but I’d tell my younger self to please, please stay away from computers. Never touch.

Sarah: What situation, event, or person has shaped you and your personality the most? My power. I’d be a completely different person without all of the knowledge I’ve gathered, much less the experiences and situations my power has gotten me into.

Blaze

Deborah: Do you live on caffeine, sugar, and donuts? I’d like to say yes, but then I’d be lying. I have to have pizza, too.

What was Canberra and why wasn’t it your fault? That was… a mission that went wrong. Badly wrong. And it was my fault, I just prefer to pretend it’s not. Can we move on?

Which of your two superpowers do you like more? Light manipulation. Teleporting is fun, but honestly, light manipulation is really useful. And good for pranking.

How can you always tell Albany and Brooklyn apart? I’m a light manipulator. I can put nametags on them that only I can see, or I can find something that’s different about them just by making the light reflect differently. Besides, their personalities are way different.

Can you give us a HINT about your name like a letter or something? My name? Oh, that’s easy. John Jacob Jingleheimer Smith.

Sarahtps: What’s your real name? Billy Bob Joe. Or not.

What’s your favorite food? You’re asking me to decide what my favorite food is? How could you be so cruel! Let’s just go with donuts.

If you could be a character in the Star Wars universe, either a canon one or one you made up, who would you want to be? Totally Han. I mean, he has a wookie friend and an awesome ship.

Jemma: What is the best prank you’ve ever pulled? Ah, it was at school. The prank involved three chickens, a container of silly string, a water gun filled with grape juice, and the math teacher’s toupee. They never saw it coming.

Madeline: How did you get into IDIA? Recruited by Jen when I was a lot younger… but that’s a really long story for another time.

Sarah: What superpower do you wish you could have? Honestly, I love the superpower I have now. But any other one… maybe telekinesis. It’s really useful, and I could fly.

Hann: Who was your first crush/love interest? Cynthia Rogers in kindergarten. It didn’t last long.

Maddie

Sarahtps: What was your first thought on waking up without your memories? I’m pretty sure I was wondering where I was, and why my head felt kind of funny. But that was a crazy moment, so it’s all really mixed up in my head.

Also, can I hug you? Um… yes?

If you were a color, what color would you be? Red! It’s my favorite color. I love how bright and bold it is.

Anvil

Deborah: Can I have your cookie recipe? Possibly. Only if I think you can do it justice, though. How well can you cook?

How are you so awesome? Umm… I’m not? If you think I am, I can give you the recipe: a dash of childhood trauma, a few cups of bad influences, and a sprinkle of saving grace and second chances.

May I please hug you? *stands there stiffly while you hug him*

What is your opinion on Blaze? He’s okay. He could be taken down a few pegs, though, and sometimes his mouth gets him into trouble.

Alyssa: What is your favorite type of cookie? I love most cookies, but I really enjoy a good white chocolate macadamia nut. Classic Snickerdoodles are good, too.

Ezra

Sarahtps: What’s your ideal date night? Ooooh, uhhm. Movie marathon, I’m a sucker for any excuse to eat junk food.

Are you and Denver getting married someday? We’re still pretty young, but I’m certainly not opposed to the idea for the future. My parents married young as well.

SPOILER: Are you ever going to tell Denver about your involvement in IDIA? You should know that I’m a terrible liar in the first place, and I absolutely hate doing it. So, I would really really like to tell him, but Data won’t let me. I’m not sure how much longer I can keep it from him…

Madeline: What is your favorite thing about Denver? You’re killing me here, just one thing? I guess, his intelligence. I love being able to goof off with him in one moment, and then being able to discuss all sorts of things the next, just to hear his opinion on something. Okay, and his smile can make me melt. Don’tmakemepickone.


Powergirl: What’s your favorite thing about IDIA? Knowing I’m not alone. I mean, I’ve still yet to make any close friends…but it’s nice being among people like me! And I’ve always wanted to help people, so that’s probably on the same level for me.

Denver

Sarahtps: What’s your ideal date night? Movie and pizza, with a walk in the park afterwards. Or, if it’s winter, going ice skating. We haven’t gotten to do that yet.

Are you and Ezra getting married someday? Um… Maybe? I don’t know… that’s… awkward… why would you ask that?

Random

Sarahtps: You (Albany, Brooklyn, Jen, Blaze, and Maddie) are, as a group, spontaneously transported to an unknown fantasy world. What do you do? (Blaze’s powers don’t work to teleport you all back, for the record, though he can teleport you anywhere within that world.) (Jen wishes to answer this question:) I would be in charge, of course. Albany and Brooklyn would help Maddie build a shelter and gather fruit, while Blaze and I explore the island, and Blaze uses his powers to frighten animals away. We would survive long enough to build a raft or contact someone for help. Or build something sturdy that Maddie could use to fly us away.

And that is all for the Q&A, finally. I hope you enjoyed it, and if you did, please consider buying the book on Amazon, as a paperback or Kindle copy, or buy it in the CreateSpace estore. And add it on Goodreads if you’d like. Have fun. Anvil out.

ANNOUNCEMENT (And Fanmade Book Trailer!)

Hullo, friends! Guess what happened today?

No, guess.

Okay, the paperback copy of Twinepathy was just released! You can find it on Amazon here and in the CreateSpace eStore here (I actually get more royalties from CreateSpace, so…). And if you have NO CLUE what I’m talking about, you can read more here on my blog, and you can check out the Kindle version here and add it on Goodreads here. Plus, you can see a bunch of reviews, author interviews, and character interviews in the book tour that is going on RIGHT NOW. So click all the links, friend!

And as most of you know, I promised that the characters would take over the blog and answer your questions when the print copy was released… which it now is. So tomorrow, I the characters will be posting the answers to those questions! Stay tuned for that.

In the meantime, I have an amazing book trailer for you to watch that the wonderful Alea Harper and her sister created after reading Twinepathy. Eeep!!! It is awesome, so check it out, give them a few likes, and share it! If you haven’t read it, this will make you want to read it. It made me want to read it… and I wrote it. 😉

Are you excited about the print book? What do you think of the book trailer? Comment below with your thoughts!

Twinepathy Q/A | Ask The Characters Some Questions!

Hullo, friends!!! Fourth post in a row this week! Nothing like a book release to get me blogging again, hmm? This is going to be a short post, but here you can post questions to ask the Twinepathy characters in their big interview post. This is going to be fun, huh? 🙂

Just a few guidelines to help things go smoother:

  1. Make it clear which character you’re asking which question.
  2. Try not to ask too many questions to start off with. Because we don’t want this to end up the length of the actual book
  3. Have fun! Ask some serious questions, ask some fun questions, and enjoy it!

Ask away! Don’t forget to sign up for the Twinepathy book tour if you haven’t already, and check out Twinepathy on Amazon and Goodreads!

(For reference, a character list: Data/Jen, Albany, Brooklyn, Maddie, and Blaze are the main characters, but ask anyone else questions, too! Try to avoid spoilers, please!)

Author Interview @ The Scribbling Sprite

Hullo, everyone! Just a quick post to let you know that I did an author interview with Ally at The Scribbling Sprite! The post went up yesterday, and I was so excited! You should definitely go check it out, and take a peek at some of her other posts, too. You can also check out her sweet review of Paralyzed Dreams while you’re at it! 😀 Have a great day, everyone!

Giveaway Winner And A Few Other Things

Hullo, everyone! In case you missed it, yesterday was my blogiversary!!! *throws confetti and sprinkles* As you may have noticed, I hosted a little giveaway for a PDF copy of my novella, Paralyzed Dreams. And I am here to announce the winner.

But before that, let me tell you how I decided the winner. Because suspense and stalling, of course.

I wrote all the contestants’ names down on slips of paper and then put them into my wonderful Avengers cup.

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This is clearly an animation or drawing, not a real cup, but hey, it’s the same as mine. And it’s all I could find.

Then I shook it up…

A lot…

Okay, fine. The winner is…

Claire B.

*throws confetti, glitter, and sprinkles towards Claire* Yay!!! I hope you’ll enjoy!

Now for the “other things” mentioned in the title.

1. THE DEADLINE IS COMING UP FOR THE JUNE CONTEST! Hurry and get your entries in!

2. My friend Daisy over at The Bookish Flower is hosting a contest, too! Hers ends on the eighth, so you’ve got a little more time than for mine. So go check it out!

3. I don’t believe I’ve mentioned it before, but I got a Goodreads account! Go ahead and follow me, friend me, and add my book to your shelves. 😉

And that is all for today, friends! *bows* Until next time!

A Special Day…

Hi, everyone! Guess what today is? Never mind… It’s my mom’s birthday! ❤

You may or may not know that I dedicated Paralyzed Dreams to my mom. I also stole her name for the book. 😛 In honor of her birthday, I decided it was a good time to tell how I came up with the idea for the book. So, I present to you the Story Behind The Story.


 

When I first decided to write a story for my mom for her birthday, I already had a bit of experience under my belt. I had started (without finishing) a ton of stories, and I had just finished my very first nearly-book-length story. I was thrilled, and I couldn’t wait to get started on my next story.

Then I had an idea. I had written the first story for a friend for her birthday. Why not write a story for my faithful editor (aka my mom) for Christmas? So, pencil and notebook in hand, I set off to write a story for my mom.

Several problems arose immediately. I knew that I wanted to have the main character named after my mom, but I also knew that I couldn’t really write from an adult’s perspective. I also had no idea for a plot, or a theme, or even any other major parts in the story.

Somehow I thought of volleyball. My mom had played volleyball when she was younger – in fact, that’s how she and my dad met. So why not write a story centered around volleyball? Somewhere along the line I had the idea to show how we can have faith through the hard times, even when it feels like everything is crashing down. And, voila, the plot for Paralyzed Dreams was born.

Of course, I had to do research on volleyball, since I knew absolutely nothing about it. Google is amazing. I also had to look up things about wheelchair accessible vans. The church and youth group I based off of my own, and the trip to the nursing home was based off of a trip I took with my youth group. And yes, we did play chair volleyball. Jeremy was based off of a certain person that you might know… but you’ll have to check out the other posts to find out about that.

As always, there were struggles during writing. There always are, and there will never cease to be. But with a little perseverance, I finished the story with plenty of time left for my dad to edit it before Christmas. With his help, I got the story edited and ready, and on December 25, we had a bound copy from Office Max waiting for my mom under the tree. I was so proud to have written a story for her.

And I’m so proud to be able to share this story with you, too! If you’ve read it, thanks so much! I’d love to hear what you think of it, and what it has taught you. If you haven’t read it, go ahead and check it out!


 

Happy birthday, Mommy! I hope everyone has enjoyed this… and check out the book! Buying copies is a great way to wish my mom a happy birthday… 😉

Writing, Marketing, And Other Wonderful Things

I mentioned in when I did the 777 Writing Challenge that I would tell you more about my work-in-editing soon. And I believe this is a wonderful time to do that.

But, first, some updates on Paralyzed Dreams!

I want to thank everyone who has reviewed the book! Every review helps, and the more reviews, the more the word gets out. All of you are amazing! 😀 If you’ve written a review in one place (Goodreads, Amazon, your blog, etc.), it’s super easy to put it on other sites, too! Special thanks to everyone who has done that, too. (That means you, writefury and Kathy @ Kathy’s Cottage Books!) If you haven’t reviewed, it only takes a minute to write down a few thoughts, and a couple more to be detailed. Even just rating on Amazon or Goodreads helps. 🙂

And Paralyzed Dreams is now listed on the Homeschooled Authors blog. Go check it out, along with the other homeschooled authors!

If you haven’t already, tell your friends about the book, too. And if you’re interested in an author interview, let me know! I’d definitely be interested.

Oh, and if you have an Instagram, Pintrest, or other social media account… Here are some quotes from the book you can share!

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JeremyQuote1

Now that we’ve got that over with, let’s get on to even more fun stuff.

I finished the first book in my new series! It’s in the editing stage now (which I’m procrastinating, of course). I may have mentioned it before, but now it’s time to officially announce the title of the series. Now. Right here.

Drumroll, please.

WISHEQuintet1

The world of Lerali is at the brink of war, and its fate rests in the hands of five teenagers, the group called WISHE. Their task? To find a long-lost portal before it’s too late.

Sound interesting? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

If you’re interested in helping to promote my books and join my street team* (Got any cool street team name ideas? Share!), head on over to my contact page. I’d love to hear from you!

And don’t forget that the Super-Duper Fan Fiction Crossover Challenge (the Second) is open for submissions! The deadline is May 1st, which may seem far away, but it’s not… so get started now! (Tell me that it’s not far away the next time I’m moaning about Avengers: Age of Ultron…) I can’t wait to see you guys’ stories! Need ideas? Check here.

I believe that’s all, folks! Got any questions? Got ideas for street names? Like the quotes? Curious to learn more about anything? Comment below! I’d love to hear what you have to say!

*A street team is a group of devoted fans who help promote an authors’ work, through book reviews, social media, and just telling others about the book. In exchange they get exclusive content, bonus fun, and, sometimes, ARCs. Worth it? I’d say so.

Writing About Writing: Cover Design – Part One

Hi, everyone!

So after my big news post on Monday, I’ve had several people mention that they’d like to hear more about the self-publishing process. I’ve noticed that there’s a scarcity of blog posts out there about self-publishing… the details, at least. One of the things I’ve recently been looking for – and haven’t found – are posts on creating professional-looking covers. And since that’s my favorite part, that’s where I’ve decided to start. 😉 This first post will focus on general tips, and the next one will provide a sort of process to help you design a professional cover.

First, decide whether you should design your cover yourself or hire a professional cover designer. There are actually some fairly inexpensive cover designers out there, and there are also places where you can buy a pre-made book cover. If you don’t have a lot of time and patience, this might be a better idea. Also, if you don’t have access to a photo manipulation program (Photoshop is what I use), getting a cover designer might be the better choice. (I believe there are also online programs you can use, but I can’t be sure). There are tutorials out there for creating covers in Word, but all the ones I’ve tried… *cough* I’m sticking with Photoshop. Just keep in mind that there are alternatives to making your own cover.

Your cover is the first thing readers will see, whether it’s in print format or ebook. Your cover needs to pique readers’ interest, while still being important to your story. If you’re writing a historical romance, your cover shouldn’t look like it’s for a zombie book or a murder mystery. That’s why the pictures you choose are so important, along with the fonts.

Before I go any further, I need to point out some things about copyrights. *sigh* If you use pictures from Google images, then there’s a high chance that you’ll be infringing on someone’s copyright. You have to make sure that you have the rights to both images and fonts. You have several choices. You can either buy your own images (and fonts) from websites that sell royalty free images (like iStock and Shutterstock). Make sure that you’re buying a commercial license for the picture, not just a non-commercial license. You can also use the stock fonts on your computer and pictures you take yourself. The fonts that come on your computer are usually unprofessional and easily recognizable… don’t use Papyrus, please. Honestly, the most over used font. 😀 If you’re a good photographer, or if you know a good photographer, doing your own photo shoot is the best idea. Finally, there’s a huge selection of free for commercial use fonts and images. You may not be able to find exactly what you’re looking for, but there are plenty of options. Always, always, always check the license on fonts and images before using them. If the creator/photographer does not specifically say that you can use it for commercial use, ask them. It’s always best to be safe. And let people know when you use their fonts/images. If they’re offering them for free, the least you can do is let them see what you’re using their creations for. Best advice? Unless stated otherwise, always assume that content is copyrighted.

If you made it through that paragraph, you deserve a reward. 😉 So here are some of the sites I use for photo and font finding. Pixabay is great. When you click on an image, the profile tells you whether it can be used for commercial use and if you need to give credit to the photographer. There’s also Unsplash. If you subscribe, they’ll send you ten pictures every ten days that are free for commercial use. They also have a new search feature, too.

For fonts, I use dafont.com and Font Squirrel. Both sites have fonts that are for non-commercial use only and commercial-use. Font Squirrel has a page for each font where you can see the license. On dafont.com, things are a little less clear cut. Just make sure to check with the creator, and read all read-me documents included with the font.

Now that we’ve got all of that stuff out of the way, here’s the best way to figure out what picture to put on your cover. First, make a list of all items and people that are important in your story… as in “cover worthy” important. Don’t choose something or someone that is important for a plot twist. You want your reader to be drawn in by the cover, but you really don’t want to give too much away. That’s why the cover is one of the most important aspects of self-publishing. Of any book, for that matter.

One last bit of advice before I end this post. Study other covers in your genre. You want yours to stand out, but you don’t want it to be too drastically different. Ashlee Willis has an awesome cover for her book The Word Changers.

And those are my tips for helping you design your covers. Hope you don’t mind how long this post was! 😀 Got a cover you’ve made that you would like opinions on? Post the link in the comments below! I can guarantee that at least one person will check it out. *cough*me*cough* I’d love to see them!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this, and that it’ll help you with designing your cover. Questions? Comments? Anything you want to see in future posts about self-publishing? Comment below!

Thanks to all of you, Paralyzed Dreams has gotten up to #37 in its category! Read it? I’d love to hear what you think! Haven’t? Go ahead! 😀 Stay tuned for updates on the upcoming Paralyzed Dreams virtual book tour!